The 5th Joint Nordic Conference on Development Research (NorDev)

‘Knowledge Production in North-South Collaboration: Challenges in an Era of New Global Divides’

Venue: The Copenhagen Business School, Dalgas Have 15, Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark

Dates: 27-28th June 2019

Hosts: The Centre for Business and Development Studies (CBDS), Copenhagen Business School, jointly organised by the associations for development research in Denmark (FAU), Finland (FSDR), Norway (NFU), and a Swedish committee (SDSN).

Please note that all information provided on this page is being shared on behalf of the conference organisers, the FAU Secretariat. Please visit the conference website or contact the Secretariat directly for further details:


The first round of Joint Nordic Conferences on Development Research (NorDev) started in 2011 (Copenhagen) and has biannually (2013 in Helsinki, 2015 in Gothenburg, and 2017 in Bergen together with EADI) been the main Nordic conference for development studies. This has and continues to be a joint effort between the Nordic development associations with essential financial support from the NORGLOBAL program at the Norwegian Research Council.

These Nordic conferences are intended to revitalize and strengthen the field of development research, both nationally and combined. The field of Development Research has been able to respond continuously to the new challenges over the last 50 years, producing stimulating and thought provoking research (new approaches, new methodologies, new theories, extending both mono- and cross/inter disciplinary areas of study and innovate ways of publication and dissemination). Yet, the field of Development Research is becoming more varied, but also more fragmented and it does not receive the recognition it needs and deserves. Furthermore, as funding agencies and the public at large increase their demands for the 'relevance' of Development Research, the future is by no means certain. Renewal is pertinent and needed.

Conference theme

This conference focuses on addressing the asymmetrical power relations and the deepening divides between North and South. Politically, academically, socially and on a range of other fronts, Northern governments have increasingly returned to a narrow minded, self-oriented development path. Despite official rhetoric such as the SDGs and the Paris Declaration, the spirit and practice of solidarity is more remote than for years. Restrictions on academic movement, prioritization of North-centred issues and lack of interest in addressing key social and environmental challenges in the South are some of the worrying trends. However, divides and imbalances are not only observable between countries and regions, but emerging within societies across the planet. Elite projects and exclusivist populism are a global phenomenon and affect the well-being of people everywhere.

The 5th Joint Nordic Conference on Development Research aspires to address these trends and challenges through a format including keynote presentations, panels and working groups, roundtables and poster presentations, and to enable dialogue and networking between participants from all parts of the world. The conference brings together scholars, students and practitioners that analyse and challenge global divides in the thematic areas of knowledge production; institutions of global governance; distribution of resources and wealth but also of risks; migration and climate change policies; or the formulation and implementation of the SDGs.  

Organization of the conference

It is anticipated that 150 persons will participate, among which we hope to have at least a third from the South. The conference will combine features of a traditional research conference, where research communication is key, an event to promote young and aspiring researchers in the development field, and dialogue between practitioners and researchers. The conference is organized with plenary sessions, including keynote speakers, and parallel sessions with working groups and panels. Each working group consists of up to three panels. Each panel is planned for 75-90 minutes and consist of 3-4 papers, a chair and a discussant. Working groups can have a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 12 papers. It is also possible to propose single panels, consisting of 3-4 paper givers or contributors. Panels may also be organised as roundtables or poster presentations. We are also exploring whether a PhD seminar can be arranged 24-26 June at the conference venue (CBS) and in collaboration with the EADI secretariat (TBC). Finally, there will be a special issue in Forum for Development Studies, peer-reviewed, which will follow the theme of the conference. The co-editors will be responsible for the introduction and selection of papers/presenters and technical support (e.g. copy-editing, finding reviewers) is provided by Forum editors and Routledge.

Accepted panels and workshops (13 - see for more information on each panel)

Open Workshops and Panels:

1: The SDGs in a North-South Comparative Perspective

5: Religion and Development

6: Exploring the potential of the Civic Space concept

8: The (re-) emergence of economic nationalism in Africa

9: Beyond old and new divisions: Informal and precarious work in the North and South

12: Challenging actors in international development

Open Workshops and Panels - with a set session: 

3: Perspectives on research capacity building and research partnerships in and with the South?

4: An emerging field of knowledge: Business and Development Studies?

7: Development Regionalism in the Global South: Return of Sovereignty?

10: Capacity Development as Knowledge Production for Efficiency, Safety, and DIgitalization at Tema Port, Ghana

11: Building research partnerships for quality and equity in Eritrean Education

Closed Workshops and Panels:

2: Governing development: The Role of institutions in a challenging world

13: Social and environmental challenges in the South

Programme (Tentative)

The tentative program is as follows (with subject to change):

Day one: Thursday 27 June 2019

08.00-09.00  Registration and coffee

09.00-09.15  Welcome session: Welcome session, by Søren Jeppesen, CBS, Spokesperson of FAU, Randi Solhjell, PHS, Oslo, Chairman of NFU and Henning Melber, NAI and President, EADI

09.15-10.45  Key note speaker 1: Gurminder Bhambra (confirmed), Moderated by Henning Melber, NAI & EADI

10.45-11.15  Break (Coffee and tea)

11.15-12.30  1st Panel & workshop session (12 in parallel)

12.30-13.30  Lunch

13.30-15.00  1st Joint/Plenary panel

15.00-15.30  Break

15.30-17.00  2nd Workshops (12 panels in parallel)

17.00-18.00  Plenary – by Danida Fellowship Centre – Handing out Danida Fellowship Prize 2019.

18.00-19.00  Reception at CBS/Danida Fellowship Centre

19.30            Conference dinner Nyhavn

Day two: 28 June 2019

09.00-09.15  Introduction to day 2, by Søren Jeppesen, CBS & FAU & Nordic Development Research Associations

09.15-10.00  2nd Keynote plenary session:  Thandika Mkandawire (TBC)

10.00-10.30  Discussion – moderated by Tiina Kontinen, IDS & FSDR

10.30-11.00  Break (coffee and tea)

13:30-14.00  Key note speaker 2:

11.00-12.15  3rd Workshops (10-12 in parallel)

12.15-13.15  Lunch

13.15-14.45  2nd joint plenary session. TBC. Moderated by Ilon Steiner, FSDR

14.45-15.15  Break

15.15-16.00  Closing session: Taking Nordic Development Research forward & Closing remarks. Moderated by Søren Jeppesen, FAU/CBS and Randi Solhjell, PHS/NFU

16.00-16.30  Coffee to go & see you at the next joint Nordic Conference in 2021, Finland.


The conference is hosted by the CBDS, CBS and jointly organised by the associations for development research in Denmark (FAU), Finland (FSDR), Norway (NFU), and a Swedish committee (SDSN).

The programme committee has the following members:

  • Sören Jeppesen, FAU (the Association of Development Researchers in Denmark)
  • Randi Solhjell, NFU (the Norwegian Association for Development Research)
  • Arnhild Leer-Helgesen, NFU and University of Agder  
  • Ilona Steiler, FSDR (the Finnish Society for Development Research)
  • Henning Melber, NAI & EADI (Nordic Africa Institute & European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes)
  • Elin Bjarnegaard, (interim SDSN – Swedish Development Studies Network)
  • Fredrik Söderbaum (Global Studies, Gothenburg & SDSN)


Timeline – important dates & deadlines

The conference committee has already agreed on conference theme, venue and sent out a first round of call for panels. These panels were reviewed and accepted/rejected on 28 January 2019 by the programme committee. The following timeline presents the period February 2019 to August 2019. 

12 February 2019: Call for paper proposals/abstracts

3 March 2019: Deadline for paper proposals/abstracts

6 March 2019: Meeting between programme committee on decisions regarding papers

15 March 2019: Notification of acceptance of papers and conference registration opens

3 June 2019: Deadline for submission of papers: Accepting also draft and unfinished papers

5 June 2019: (Revised) Draft conference program circulated

14 June 2019: Deadline for registration

27-28 June 2019: Joint Nordic Conference on Development Research

2 August 2019: Deadline for submitting journal articles to the special issue in Forum for Development Studies